Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

There are antecedents of the Orthodox feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord in the Old Testament feast of the harvest.  For this reason, it is the tradition to bless the first fruits on this feast which comes towards the end of the summer, at least in the northern hemisphere.  Such was the influence of Orthodoxy on the common people in old Russia, that pious Christians would not eat any fruit until it had been blessed on this feast.  In our world of supermarkets and globalization, when fruit can be purchased at any time of year, this has lost meaning among most people. 
His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada presided at the services both for the Vigil and the Divine Liturgy.  With him concelebrated His Grace, Bishop Luke of Syracuse and abbot of the monastery as well as the clergy of the monastery.  Both the Vigil and the Liturgy were celebrated outside in front of the church due to the number of faithful. 
The Liturgy proceeded as usual, with the weather being typical for this time of year, still warm but with clouds and breezes.  However, just as the Liturgy was about to conclude, and the time approached for the bishops to bless the baskets of fruit which had been laid out on tables in front of the shrine of St. Seraphim, a strong wind brought heavy rainfall.  Thank God, many if not most of the faithful in attendance had come prepared with umbrellas, and the servers quickly took into the church the icons and the church utensils.  Nevertheless, the blessing proceeded, but many remarked that it seemed that God Himself had blessed the fruit.  After the blessing, the Liturgy concluded as well as the rainfall.  Quite a remarkable occurrence on this bright feast of the Lord.

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